Jet Li on Fake Masters & What Is Real Kung Fu

This article is part of our series on the subject of "Fake Martial Arts". Read more:

In 李連杰 Jet Li's 2006 film “Fearless” AKA 霍元甲 Huo Yuan Jia, Jet Li gives a speech to his students, which doubles as a message to the entire Kung Fu / Chinese Martial Arts community (but can also apply to the entire traditional martial arts community as well).

This deleted scene appears on the Director's uncut version of the film.

“Do you know what is real Kung Fu? Real Kung Fu are skills obtained through hard work, through many years of dedicated training. Look at you - your 2-3 years of “Cat’s Claw” (low level) Kung Fu, against my 20+ years of real Kung Fu. You think you can handle this? Keep training!”

Internet commenters have pointed out that Jet Li used the words 腳 "Cat's Foot" instead of 貓爪 "Claw", referring to 三腳貓 "Three-Legged Cat", which implies weakness. Although in an earlier fight scene against the Nanquan / Hung Kuen stylist, Jet indeed used the word 貓爪 "Cat's Claw" to describe his opponent's supposed 虎爪 "Tiger Claw" attacks.

Many practitioners of the old arts today train for a few years, obtain some superficial or surface-level knowledge or understanding of the arts, and all of a sudden promote themselves as “teachers” or “masters”.

These so-called teachers / masters have never walked outside of their own schools and truly tested themselves, and yet they make dubious claims of skill, experience, and mastery - without demonstrating any quality evidence against live resistance or pressure.

The most sinister of these folks are charlatans who market themselves as know-it-all “Grandmasters” and build a cult-like following around them. They not only insult real martial arts practitioners around the world, but also destroy the legacy and legitimacy of the work of the true masters before them, and cheat many unsuspecting students of their time and money along the way.

These “fake” masters are content to remain at their low level 貓爪 “Cat’s Claw” / 三腳貓 "Three-Legged Cat" form of Kung Fu (as opposed to a 虎爪 “Tiger’s Claw”), only seek fame / titles / money, and ride the coattails and mythical status of the famous masters who built these styles and systems before them. As a result, they’ve effectively killed their own communities with their laziness, complacency, and undeserved hubris.

When they are checked by others, they scurry away to hide and “save face” to avoid humiliation and to protect their egos / reputations in front of their cult believers like cowards, instead of stepping up to prove that their martial arts are indeed legitimate.

李連杰:你的功夫是貓爪功夫還是真功夫?

- Dynasty Team

December 14, 2021 — Dynasty Team

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